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  Step 2: Carry out an environmental review

Although each school might decide to start from any point in the Eco-School process, the first task of the committee is the design, implementation and evaluation of the school’s environmental review. The review aims to: 

  • provide an opportunity to address environmental issues that are relevant to the school community,
  • inform the school community about the state of the school’s environment and the environmental impact of the school on its surroundings,
  • identify aspects of the school’s environment that are not usually addressed,
  • help the school community to prioritize its needs re-environmental management,
  • facilitate the drawing up of an environmental action plan, and
  • provide the tools necessary for monitoring the school’s progress and the implementation of the action plan. 

 Environmental Review Checklist

An environmental review checklist spanning the main areas of environmental concern are  provided to all schools in the resource pack (download the resource pack here).  Schools can either adopt the checklist as it is, or adapt the list to meet their particular needs. They can even add new questions or new sections, as necessary.


The selection of the items to be reviewed can be facilitated by asking staff and students: “What do you like and dislike about your school?”

   b. Children, with the help of adults, can gather the information gathered in the checklist from the school grounds. To facilitate the review process, it might be a good idea to assign different areas of the school to different ‘reviewers’.
   c. The data gathered is complied into a report that is circulated among the school community.
   d. The committee meets to discuss the report in detail, to identify priorities and to plan for the next phase of the programme – The Action Plan

The environmental review checklist is sub-divided into several sections that reflect the various suggested eco-schools themes. Since the major activities occurring in schools concern the curriculum, another section, entitled School Environmental Policy, is also included.

Nevertheless, the school is free to choose other areas of environmental concern that are more relevant to its need and to devise appropriate checklist accordingly. That is why each checklist has a couple of blank rows and why the last grid has been left blank.

Children, with the guidance of adults, can use the questions contained in these checklists to gather information about the state of the school’s environment.

The section marked Action needed, Action to be taken and Cost Involved need not be filled in during the review … although they may come useful for jotting notes and bright ideas. These sessions can serve as discussion primers during the following Eco-School committee meeting and are also good indicators for items to be considered in the formulation of the action plan.